book review

All. The. Feels. | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: 9/10/13
Pages: 481
Source: BEA
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
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From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park. A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


Cath is a total fangirl of the Simon Snow series. She has all the books, all the posters, and even all the movies. She also writes a highly-popular fanfiction about the books. Wren, her twin, and Cath are attending the same college, and it is going to be a blast. Nothing has to change; does it? Except Wren doesn’t want to room with Cath. She wants to have the whole college experience. Cath is less than excited about this turn of events. Will she even like college? Fangirl is a coming of age story like you’ve never seen before.


The Fangirl

  • Cath is one of the most relatable characters I have read in a long time. Her narrative is definitely on point with what a freshman in college goes through. I, almost, wish I had read this book while still in college. Fangirl is easily a book that will help you forget about your own troubles. It may have put my mind at ease as many things I worried about in college were exactly the same as what Cath was worrying about.
  • Cath is such a kindred spirit. She gets so many things right but especially everything she said about writing. The book is heavily ingrained in Cath’s fanfiction and her work in her fiction writing class. A lot of the discussions about writing rang true and hauntingly gorgeous.
  • Every aspect of Cath’s life was touching and beautifully structured. It was more than a coming of age story. It was a story for you to find pieces of yourself within the writing.

The Friends

  • I could easily find characters who seemed to be just like my friends. It was as if Rainbow Rowell had taken a bit of every freshman’s life and structured it around the most relatable of characters.
  • Only, I wish we were given a bit more time with Levi. He still remains somewhat of a mystery and I would have loved to get to know him a bit more. He was so bubbly, outgoing, and an all-around nice guy.
  • The romance blossomed incredibly well. It was both gorgeous and realistic. 
  • And how cute is reading aloud to another? We don’t get scenes like this very often, where the protagonist will read aloud to another character. It is so intimate and undeniably adorable. It shows how reading aloud brings people together.

The Fanfiction

  • At the beginning of every chapter, there would always be a small excerpt of something related to what is happening in the plot. It is a fantastic idea; it had me making predictions about what may come next based on the excerpt.
  • Rainbow Rowell has put some genius into this. She has created, not only, a coming of age story but a whole fanfiction (which you can read—in its entirety—in Carry On) based on the Simon Snow series (which excerpts from the fictional series pop up in Fangirl). It is an inception of stories. It is brilliant, a wonderful reading journey to delve between layers and layers of writing.

The Queen of Contemporary 

  • Confession time: I have never read anything by Rainbow Rowell. Fangirl is the first book that I have read of hers. And, believe me, I will not be stopping there. Next up, I must get my hands on Eleanor and Park.
  • Fangirl is one of those books that are hard to describe. In the most basic sense, it is a coming of age story about a freshman in college. However, the synopsis didn’t draw me into the story. It was Rowell’s writing. From the very first page, I was hooked right into the realistic descriptions that are quirky and hilariously funny at just the right moments. It was as if she was speaking right to me. Not only that, but through Rowell’s writing, her characters come alive. They felt so real, as if we had just had a conversation of our own.
  • I must dub Rainbow Rowell the queen of contemporary if it hasn’t been done so already. She definitely deserves the title with her believable writing and how her work connects with all readers.

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Overall

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is a coming of age tale like no other. It delves deep into a freshman’s journey through the first year of college. Fangirl exemplifies a little bit of everyone. It is a tale that will be sure to brighten your day.


Top Ten Tuesday

10 Completed Book Series I've Started But Haven't Finished

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


With the release of Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han, I had to run out and go buy it as soon as possible. However, I haven’t read it yet. It is the series finale and I can’t wait to dive in. It seems that I always have difficulty finishing series because I just do not want them to end, I don’t want to say goodbye. I’ve noticed several series that I haven’t finished, that I’ve just left to gather dust on my bookshelves to avoid the inevitable last book. I should probably think about finishing these soon:

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


What completed series do you still have to finish?

book review

Finally I've Read It! | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: 5/5/15
Pages: 421
Source: purchased
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Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.


In this magical Beauty and the Beast retelling, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Feyre vowed to always take care of her family. Naturally, when poverty strikes, she must hunt in the woods or starve to death. Feyre has gotten quite good at a bow and arrow and when an unusually large wolf crosses her path, she buries her arrow in its flesh. However, the wolf is no ordinary wolf but a fairy. According to Tamlin, a High Fae, there are consequences to killing fairies. Feyre must leave her family and live with Tamlin until the end of her days in order to fulfill her debt.

Beauty and the Beast Retelling

  • There’s an extreme hype surrounding this book and I know not to fall under the hyped spell unless it is deserved. But, guys, the hype is well deserved. It is hard not to be entirely enchanted from the very beginning as a Beauty and the Beast retelling sounds absolutely fantastic to me any day. 
  • I adore fairies. In Cruel Beauty, a magnificent retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Hodge gave us a demon for the beast. In A Court of Thorns and Roses, Maas lets our eyes feast on her descriptive fairies. I haven’t read such a gorgeous fairy book in a long time, last being Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, so I am quite overdue. A Court of Thorns and Roses has lots of things going for it: quenching your thirst for both retellings and fairies at the same time.
  • There wasn’t too much information dumping in the world building that I found myself curious in the history rather than being annoyed.

Tamlin and Feyre Sitting in a Tree (And Rhysand's There Too!)

  • I was hoping Feyre would be more similar to Belle—in her love for books and adventure, rather we get a character who is rough and strong—a hunter who seems less relatable than Katniss. Despite her un-relatability, you root for her all the same. Feyre is courageous, strong, exceptional with a bow and arrow, a master finder, a painter, and sometimes a bit stupid. These traits and many more make her—not so much relatable, but—incredibly friend-worthy. If she wasn’t fictional, Feyre and I would definitely be besties.
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  • The plot itself was intriguing. The deeper I got into the story, the more I found myself liking Tamlin. Tamlin is my kind of guy: quiet, strong, intelligent, gentle. The list goes on. 
  • One thing I always look for in Beauty and the Beast retellings is the friendship blossoming into romance. I’m always curious as to how authors will choose to execute the transition from captor to romance. I must say that I didn’t see the romance coming in A Court of Thorns and Roses like it did. From Feyre’s narration, we know that Tamlin and she were spending a little more time with each other than before. However, we get mere mentions of these meetings than concrete scenes of their dialogue. It is not until quite farther into the story do we truly see how they may have feelings for each other. In doing it this way, Maas put the romance on the back burner (for at least the beginning 60% of the book), which is sad considering Beauty and the Beast is essentially a love story. The romance wasn’t as romantic as I was hoping and in some ways, a bit unbalanced. As much as Tamlin’s kind gestures and actions spoke volumes, I didn’t really expect Feyre and Tamlin to get together at all.
  • With how much the fans discuss Rhysand, I was expecting him to be a main character. However, he seems more of the Magnus Bane of the series. He is precious but didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. However, the more I see of him as the series goes on, I think I will begin to like him even more.

The End to a Fantastic Start

  • Maas weaves her plot and characters into a gorgeous tapestry of layers. Her writing is truly incredible. A Court of Thorns and Roses is actually the first novel by her that I’ve read. I loved it immensely and will definitely be continuing on with this series and reading her other books as well (Throne of Glass series, here I come!).
  • The ending and climax had me in tangles. My stomach still hurts from the action thrown my way. It was perfectly executed. I was contemplating giving the book a 4 star rating, however, my feelings of the ending slid my rating up to where it deserves to be. This is an incredible start to a series that is guaranteed to put you in knots and leave you tangled (you know, in a good way).

Overall

Having never before read a book written by Sarah J. Maas, I can say that I was wholly impressed with her writing and look forward to reading more by her in the future (starting with A Court of Thorns and Roses’ sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury). A Court of Thorns and Roses surpassed all of my expectations; the hype is incredibly well-deserved. The story is magnificent and will keep you guessing until the very end.





A Court of Thorns and Roses (5/5/15): 5 stars

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

It's been a while, hasn't it? I took last month off to get some things in order. Now, I am back and ready to get into the swing of things again. Despite not having posted in a while, I did read some amazing books while on hiatus. I will definitely be sharing those in the near future.

I've read some really awesome books lately but don't you wish there could be more of some of your favorites? Couldn't the author given this one a sequel? Couldn't the book be a bit longer?

Top Ten Tuesday is created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is: Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist. This is a letter to all authors out there that I need more of the following in my books, please:


Impossible heists are definitely something there needs to be more of. Who doesn't love a good heist, especially when it is impossible? I read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and wondered the entire time how they were going to pull off such a feat. It's impossible! There's no way! Another Book that Featured This: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo


I would love to read a book with an unexpected narrator. Imagine reading from the perspective of a pair of sunglasses or maybe even a chicken nugget. Or you could get super creative and get the perspective of Death like in The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. Another Book that Featured This: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold


I just came back to the States from a long trip to South Korea. While I was in college, I studied abroad there and absolutely fell in love with the culture. And there aren't many books written that are set in Korea, or Asia in general. Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout is one of the few books I've read set in South Korea. Another Book that Featured This: Ink by Amanda Sun


There are way too many Beauty and the Beast and Red Riding Hood retellings out there. I suppose those are the go-to retellings. However, I would love some obscure retellings that haven't been done a lot. That is why I freaked out when I heard Renee Ahdieh was doing a retelling on Mulan in Flame in the Mist. Yes, please! I cannot wait for it. Another Book that Featured This: Roseblood by A.G. Howard


I love absolutely everything about To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Though something that YA doesn't get much often is such tight-knit families. Why are the parents always absent in books? I love how Lara Jean is extremely close to her family. It makes her that much more relatable because I am pretty close to my family as well. Another Book that Featured This: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick


I haven't read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas yet but all of my reading buddies swear it is a book no one should miss. It is the type of book that incites change. Another Book that Featured This: Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me by Lily Collins


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff was not my favorite but I truly loved the dossier style format. It changed the entire reading experience. Instead of reading prose, readers were immersed into the story with snippets of emails, files, reports, and more. There definitely needs to be more of these books out there. Another Book that Featured This: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

There will probably never be another book like this. Kill The Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky was a one-of-the-kind satirical YA. It cannot be replicated. Have you read a YA book with dark humor in it?


There are not enough main characters in the world who read and write. When I read of a character who reads, I feel that much closer to the story because hey, I read too! Kath in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell reads and writes. We could be best friends! Another Book that Featured This: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira


I love time travel books. Outlander may be the size of a monster but I will still read it because time travel! Also, alternate universes! That is super unique and a new take on the time travel genre. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Grey is a fantastic example of the complex plot that is all different universes! And you know I need more of it!

What things are on your reading wishlist?

kickin' it

Kickin' It: March 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017


Kickin’ It is a feature at The Bucket List where I round-up the whole month in one post, bringing you reviews you may have missed, other awesome bookish things, and even what I’m currently obsessed with in other media besides books. March seemed to go by so fast. I only wished spring would come as fast but as much as we have had a few sunny days, night still leaves snow and ice. I tackled Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon this month which is a monster of a book but was fantastic. I deem the month a great reading month, here's my wrap-up:


Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare: I finally finished the Infernal Devices series. It's always bittersweet when I finish series; I never want them to end. However, I think the end of Clockwork Princess broke me. I don't want to give spoilers away for those who haven't read it but it's been weeks and the ending of the book feels as raw as it did when I first read it weeks ago. It's still on my mind and that is a book deserving of its title "best of the month."



Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (3 stars): Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman create a genius epistolary-style novel which will have readers scrambling for the next installment.

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (5 stars): Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken is a magnificent sequel that goes beyond the confines of one, pushing you to give the duology an immediate reread. It will easily become one of you favorite series with its well-written characters and unexpected story.



Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge (9/27/16): I've recently discovered Rosamund Hodge and in my dash to acquire all her books, I have somehow missed this one. A retelling of Romeo and Juliet sounds awesome to me and Hodge always knows how to create an old tale into something entirely unique and new.

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare (11/15/16): I must have been living under a rock when this one released because I gobble up everything Clare writes but didn't even know this one existed until I saw pictures of it on Instagram. With my recent book hangover of the Clockwork Princess, I am in need of more Shadowhunters' world. Bring it on!




I haven't seen or listened to much this month but I did have time to go to the theaters and see one of the highly anticipated movies of the year: Beauty and the Beast. It was absolutely gorgeous, the singing was fantastic, and it really brought me back to my childhood, watching Disney movies. I am already considering buying the book. The movie is a must see for everybody of any age.


How was your March?